Tuesday, December 4, 2012

South Alabama: Three keys and a prediction

 NMSU started the 2007-08 season 0-7 on the road. That included losses at Duke, Louisville, Texas and WEst Virginia on a neutral court and road losses to UNM and UTEP. Probably the hardest schedule under Menzies.

NMSU is 0-4 on the road this year entering tonight's game at Sun Belt's South Alabama.

Defend the 3: South Alabama shoots 40 percent from 3-point range and score 32 percent of their 74 points per game from the 3. The Aggies hold opponents to 30 percent from 3 so tonight should be a good test.  Junior guard Xavier Roberson shoots 50 percent from 3, Senior Freddie Goldstein shoots 28 percent and junior Antoine Allen shoots 39 percent. Guard Mychal Ammons is another big guard at 6-6 who scores 12 ppg and shoots 53 percent from 3 but on just 17 attempts.

Mirror Southern Miss game plan: Like Southern Miss, South Alabama is an undersized team that likes to play fast, 72 possessions per 40 minutes. I don't think the Aggies will face full court pressure the entire game though like they did against Southern MIss, however. Sim Bhullar played like the 7-5 monster he is, on both ends of the floor. Chili Nephawe was also good. If the Aggies are to play an extended period of time without Nephawe down the line, I think the Aggies have players in Dixon and Barry who could compliment Bhullar. NMSU scored 34 points in the paint against Southern Miss and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and shoot nearly 70 percent at the foul line. That's a good formula for a road win.

Turnovers: Continues to be a key for this team. NMSU got away with 20 turnovers at home, but I would say 20 plus turnovers cost the Aggies road wins at Niagara and UTEP. South Alabama forces about 17 turnovers per game.

South Alabama has two Sun Belt wins already so they have played meaningful games. They have experienced players, but the fact that South Alabama wants to play fast plays into the Aggies preferred style. It's slow teams that NMSU struggles with.

Final score, New Mexico State 70, South Alabama 62

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